The rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker is less than three weeks away. Former middleweight champion Michael Bisping gave his thoughts on the matchup and the keys to victory for each fighter.
Bisping is no stranger to rematches and changing up the game plan because he did so against Luke Rockhold in 2016 and became champion.
Whittaker Has To Change A Lot Of Things
Speaking with the guys from Submission Radio, Bisping broke down differences leading into the rematch.
“Well, there has to be a lot of differences if you’re Robert Whittaker because the first fight did not go well. His approach was not good, he was trying to rush it, he was lunging in from a distance, and you cannot do that against someone like Israel Adesanya, he is far too precise. He’s an absolute sniper in there. He’s very skilled, very fast and he has the reach advantage.
“Now it’s that reach advantage that he has that was causing Robert to lunge in. He was trying to jump in with a left hook and Israel saw that coming a mile away. So, he has to change a lot of things, and I think he will.”
Adesanya vs. Blachowicz Game Tape
Bisping mentioned that Whittaker has been talking a lot about Adesanya’s loss to former light heavyweight champion Jan Błachowicz in his interviews. While everyone points to the wrestling that led to Adesanya’s loss, there are other things in that fight that can lead Whittaker to exact his revenge.
“We all know he’s a kickboxer, just take him down. But it’s been harder to take him down than what people think. Israel’s takedown defense has been very good. What Robert needs to do in this one is let Israel attack him. That is what we saw Jan Błachowicz do— stand his ground pretty much and let Israel come forward and be the aggressor. That makes it easier to counter. Robert also has to use a lot of faints and misdirection. Faints are the key to everything, right? When [Robert] faints it will make Israel think he’s going to throw a right hand or whatever and that’s when he attacks. He has to draw the attack out of Israel,” Bisping said. “Easier said than done.
“Another thing that Jan Błachowicz did was, he took him down in the center of the octagon. MMA fighters spend a tremendous amount of time against a padded wall or a cage just drilling takedown defense against a fence. When you’re against the fence it’s easier because you can lean on it. And if you do get taken down by the fence, its easier to get right back up. Out in the open, there is nothing to help you.
“If you try to stay on your feet, there is no fence to lean on and you’ll fall down. If you try to get back to your feet, the person on top just has to drive forward and you go back down. We know Robert is a great wrestler. I was blown away by the Robert who fought Kelvin Gastelum… that was a masterclass.”
“I’m not saying he is going to win the fight but I know for a fact that this fight will be remarkably different from the first one,” Bisping added.
Still there? Okay, so…
- Use more faints
- Get Adesanya to attack
- Use wrestling
- Get Adesanya to the center of the octagon
Seems easy enough, right?
Adesanya vs. Whittaker II goes down at UFC 271 on February 12 in Houston, Texas.